Friday, 14 October 2016


Weather is looking a little marginal for Sunday.

High water Portishead is 0750 at 14.1m; up in Bristol it'll be a little later, but not much. With a tide that big the harbour master has to close the stop gates to keep the water out of the harbour (apparently, it's known as the "floating harbour" because the level of the harbour remains constant regardless of the tide) so they'll need us to lock out before the gates are closed.

So the plan is to be in the junction outside Cumberland Basin for 0615. The bridge-man will keep an eye out for us and let us through if he sees us waiting. Apparently the VHF set in the bridge control room is currently out of service. We then enter the lock at 0630 and lock down, expecting to depart Bristol City Docks around 0640.

An hour to get down river, maybe an hour and a half as we'll be punching tide, should see us at the mouth of the Avon at just about high water. We then make a twenty minute hop across to Portishead, lock in and we're home. Maybe even before the rain hits.

I wouldn't normally leave harbour voluntarily with a 6 anywhere in the forecast (I don't necessarily count needing to race as "leaving voluntarily"), especially not on a spring tide. However, the river should be pretty sheltered, the wind is across the tide off Portishead rather than against. Likewise the short hop is across the wind also, not into it, and Royal Portbury and Portishead make for a weather shore so we should enjoy some shelter in their lee.

On balance, it should all be fine.

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